About Schools North East

Set up by schools for schools, we are the first and only school-led regional network in the UK.
 

In 2007, a group of Head Teachers came together to establish Schools North East. Their aim was to create a unique culture of collaboration and mutual support amongst North East schools to ensure the best possible outcomes for all of our region’s young people. Twelve years on, Schools North East is stronger than ever.
 

Over the years, we have worked to facilitate new projects and additional support, connect schools to each other and external organisations such as business, provide a strategic voice for our members and promote a wider understanding of the issues facing education in the North East.
 

Schools North East is governed by our 8 Trustees, 1 co-opted Trustees and 40 strong advisory board of local Head Teachers, elected by their peers in each area, who provide Schools North East with direction and support. We also have a core team of 10 based in Newcastle.
 

With a well-established annual calendar of events, a Weekly Update with a distribution of over 4,000 readers and over 7,000 Twitter Followers, Schools North East’s influence is growing both locally and nationally!
 

Mission and Vision

Schools North East is an inclusive network led by Head Teachers creating unique culture of collaboration and mutual support and bringing the expertise of our members to benefit developments within our region.

Our Vision

Our young people are confident, enterprising, skilled and aspiring; learning and developing within well-resourced, nurturing and purposeful school environments.

Our school leaders, governors and staff demonstrate exceptional professionalism enjoying the resounding confidence of students, parents, communities, employers and decision-makers.

Our Head Teachers have a powerful voice regionally and nationally. By working collaboratively and creatively with their peers and external partners, they develop expertise, shape policy and drive change. We are recognised as a centre for innovation and the bench-mark of excellence.

Our region is vibrant, self reliant and outward looking, featuring a dynamic economy, healthy environment and distinctive culture.

Manifesto for North East Education

With input from our 1,150 member schools and key stakeholders from across the education sector, we have produced a series of key recommendations for education policy which affects the North East.

The Manifesto is a statement of intent and the foundation of our ever stronger focus on influencing the development of education policy, as it impacts on our region.  Our recommendations will be refined and developed with our Partner Schools and key stakeholders throughout 2020 and beyond.  Make sure you engage and influence how this develops going forward.

Visit our Manifesto page.

ConnectEd, the Schools North East Online Community

ConnectEd is a dedicated online community for North East Schools to collaborate, share and engage. 

As well as a general group there are dedicated groups for different roles in schools.

It is a members only platform.  Please visit our page for more information.

 

Ednorth

Ednorth is a programme that aims to inspire change in all classrooms across the North East by promoting an educational culture led by informed debate, research, collaboration and excellence.

It will provide teachers across the region with the tools and techniques to cut through the fog of government guidance,commercial ‘silver bullets’, and poor quality research that is currently driving the zero-sum game of educational improvements focused on exam results, condemning our schools to cycles of under-performance and wasted effort.

Ednorth is not about getting ahead of the game, but changing the game completely, and how to maintain that indefinitely beyond any group of school leaders.

Schools North East is working in partnership with SHINE who are providing £500,000 of ringfenced investment for North East schools to support the following priorities:

Ready for School 

Bridging the Gap 

Flying High

Any school or teacher in the North East is eligible to apply for funding of between £10,000 and £100,000 for projects lasting one to three years. Applicants will receive support and guidance from the point they first get in touch to ensure the grant-making process is as simple and stress-free as possible.

Visit the Ednorth Website for more information. 
 

Jobs in Schools | North East

Jobs in Schools is a unique jobs portal, powered by Schools North East and the schools in our region. It is not-for-profit and enables schools to benefit from huge financial savings on their national recruitment spends.

Jobs in Schools has been designed to bring all of the vacancies in schools in the North East together in one place. Candidates can find the best jobs in the North East – from this home grown jobs board, created to match local talent with the vacancies in our region.

The majority of vacancies in the North East are filled by local candidates. It makes perfect sense that there is a tailor-made solution – great news for candidates and a cost-effective tool for schools.

The future for local candidates is in Jobs in Schools | North East.

Visit the portal and see the latest vacancies.

Trustees

Our Trustees 

Our Board

Advisory Board Members

RegionNameTypeSchool
SunderlandSarah Dixon-JonesNursery / Early YearsHoughton Community Nursery School & Mill Hill Nursery School
SunderlandCraig KnowlesSecondaryHetton School
SunderlandJoanne MawSecondary & Sixth FormSandhill View Academy
SunderlandClaire SmithPrimaryHill View Infant School
SunderlandSara BainbridgePrimaryBarmston Village Primary School
SunderlandAilsa TaylorPrimaryOak Learning Trust
SunderlandPaula HegartySecondaryOxclose Community Academy
Stockton-on-TeesJulia ArmstrongPrimaryHartburn Primary School
South Tyneside Sir Ken GibsonSecondary & Sixth FormHarton Academy
South Tyneside Brendan TappingSecondary & Sixth FormSt Wilfred’s RC College (South Shields)
Redcar and ClevelandCarl FaulknerPrimaryNormanby Primary
NorthumberlandAndrew HudsonPrimaryMickley First School
NorthumberlandMaurice HallHigh SchoolThe Duchess’s Community High School
North TynesidePhilip SandersonAllKing’s Priory School
North EastZoe CarrAllWise Academies
North EastHugh HegartyAllNicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust
Newcastle upon TyneSarah Holmes-CarneSecondaryKenton School
MiddlesbroughPhil LathamSecondaryMacmillan Academy
HartlepoolJo HeatonPrimaryHart Community Primary School
HartlepoolMark TillingSecondaryHigh Tunstall College of Science
GatesheadSteve HaighSecondaryWhickham School
DurhamDavid PriestleySecondaryGreenfield Community College
DurhamSally GreenPrimaryThornhill Primary School
DurhamAndy ByersSecondaryFramwellgate School Durham
DurhamAnnette SowdenPrimarySt Mary's RC Primary School
DarllingtonClaire BlackettAll through (Special Education Provision)Hurworth House School (Priory Group)
DarlingtonMike ButlerSecondaryEducation Village
DarlingtonKate ChisholmPrimarySkerne Park Academy
DarlingtonPeter KingPrimaryFederation of Mowden Schools Infants & Junior

School Business Manager Council

Our School Business Manager Council was founded in 2013 to build upon the existing local SBM networks, and provide a platform in every type and phase of school in the region. 

The Council aims to: 

Enable colleagues from across the region to meet and share intelligence and Best Practice with each other and their local networks;

Develop a powerful voice for the North East’s SBMs and raise their profile with Head Teachers to ensure they fully understand the contribution that SBMs make to North East schools;

Provide local and regional support, bespoke to each local area/ network.

The Council is comprised of School Business Managers from across the different sub-areas of the North East. The complete list of council members HERE

 

Staff

Our Team

Chris Zarraga

DIRECTOR

Chris has been part of the Schools North East team since its inception in 2007 and in 2019 he was appointed Director.

Chris works with other leaders across the North East, the education sector and charity sector to represent the voice of North East schools, and lobby policy makers to ensure that the North East is not left behind when it comes to education policy. Chris has overseen the launch of the Ednorth evidence-based excellence programme, as well as the partnership with SHINE bringing over £500,000 worth of funding to North East schools.

Under Chris, Schools North East has moved to a greater focus on lobbying around education policy, with the launch of the Manifesto for North East Education in December 2019. As well as being a trustee of a local MAT, Chris sits on various boards including the board for Opportunity North East. Prior to joining Schools North East, Chris worked with over 165 schools in the North East and various education organisations including local authorities, Excellence Partnerships, 14-19 Groups, the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust, and School Improvement Officers. He led a large scale culture change project in education across the North East and was the development consultant for the LEGI funded Wansbeck Enterprise Education Network.

Pauline Aitchison

DEPUTY DIRECTOR

Pauline joined Schools North East in July 2017 as Business Manager and was appointed Deputy Director in 2020. With over 20 years working in education in the North East Pauline brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of the region's schools as well as Governance experience having served as both a Governor and Associate Governor and an Academy Trust member.   She understands the challenges faced by schools and is committed to making a difference to the learning chances of pupils in the region.

Pauline leads the National Network of Special Schools for School Business Professionals bringing together schools from across England, and sits on the DfE Network Leaders Forum ensuring the voice of NE SBMs is heard at a national level.  She has built up the online community, ConnectEd and supports SBMs, senior leaders and teachers across the region.

Ben Hardy

RELATIONSHIP MANAGER

As Relationship Manager at Schools North East, Ben works with all schools across the region to ensure that their voice continues to be heard in the national debate. He works particularly closely with our Partner Schools and Trusts, whose engagement and input drives everything that we do. Ben is also responsible for the recruitment and retention strategy where we are working towards the North East being the go-to teaching destination. As part of this, he oversees the running of Jobs in Schools | North East, our not-for-profit recruitment platform for schools across the region.

Ben is also a governor at Atkinson Road Primary in Newcastle. He also has experience as a school governor at a small special school where he chaired the leadership and management committee responsible for overseeing a location move, the recruitment of a new headteacher, the restructure of the governing body and an Ofsted inspection

Ben joined the team at Schools North East in July 2019 and prior to this spent 5 years at The Key supporting schools, Multi-Academy Trusts and Local Authorities across the country.

 

Sam Murray

EVENTS MANAGER

Sam joined the events team in Schools North East in March 2017 and was promoted to Events Manager in October 2017.  Since joining team, Sam has grown the events programme exponentially ensuring that the region's leaders, SBMs, Teachers and Governors are well supported.  Attracting key speakers such as the head of Ofsted, Secretaries of State and educationalists from the North East and beyond, Sam ensures that this region is on the map by providing top class conferences and events.  Sam is also responsible for the creation and development of our online webinars and conferences, which have proved invaluable during recent times.  She reacted quickly to change and supported over 7,000 delegates in the last academic year alone. Sam is also responsible for sourcing event sponsorship and creating opportunities for our Supporters and exhibitors. 


Sam is also a Governor of a primary school in Newcastle and is passionate about providing a better future for children and young people in our region.

Colin Bancroft

EDNORTH PROJECT COORDINATOR

As Ednorth Project Coordinator Colin works with schools, teachers and leaders across the North East. He works closely with the ‘Ednorth Advocates’ - specialised teams of teachers from across the region who are evidence influenced and research driven practitioners - to develop evidence-based projects designed to address issues specific to their areas context.

He also works with the Ednorth Ambassadors - a selection of high profile educational specialists - to foster change and improvement across the teaching spectrum in the North East. He is currently working with a number of schools to develop bids for the ring-fenced SHINE funding - over £500k for projects based on SHINE’s priorities of Ready for School, Bridging the Gap and Flying High - and organising Ednorth TeachMeet sessions which bring together some to the best practice from the North East’s school both in physical and online events.

Harry Goodwill

POLICY OFFICER

Harry joined Schools North East in August 2019 as Policy Officer. Harry supports the chairty by ensuring that there is a command of the data, research, and policy developments in education. This allows Schools North East to have a distinctive voice on education policy, informed by a strong evidence base. A key example of this is our Manifesto for North East Education, put together in response to the 2019 general election, and following feedback from schools across the region. The manifesto contains the key recommendations from North East schools, and has shaped our policy focus since.

Before joining Schools North East Harry worked in the parliamentary office of the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP for 3 years. Prior to that, he studied at Newcastle University for a BA in Politics and History, and then an MA in European History.

Ellen Orange

MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

As Marketing and Communications Officer Ellen is responsible for all communications to schools across the region. Ellen works to keep school staff up to date with what they need to know, whether that’s the latest news and policy developments, opportunities from our supporters or making sure you know about what is coming up in our events calendar. She is behind the weekly newsletter as well as our social media channels. As well as giving you information, she is committed to ensuring that the voices of North East school leaders are heard and that the fantastic work of our schools is showcased, on our blog, on social media, and in the press.

Ellen is the point of contact for all press activity and in the last year has helped raised the profile of the Schools North East network as the leading voice on education in the region. Ellen also works in partnership with other charities across the region and country to help amplify the work of the network and issues relevant to North East schools.

Ellen has more than four years experience in marketing and previously worked in a local sixth form. She is also currently working towards her CIM Level 6 Diploma in Marketing.

Rose Davison-Hayton

EVENTS COORDINATOR

Rose joined Schools North East in September 2018 as the Events Coordinator.
She assists the Events Manager in creating and developing the large annual events programme, ensuring that each event is planned and executed to a high standard. Through research, Rose ensures that our events are in line with the need and current demand of North East schools as well as bringing new ideas to the table.


In the two years that Rose has been with Schools North East she has successfully supported the planning and delivery of more than 50 major conferences, single-issue events and webinars with over 10,000 delegates. 
Before joining the team at Schools North East, Rose worked for many years within the Hospitality Industry. Outside of Schools North East Rose likes to travel and spend time with friends and family.

Lindsay Gerencser

FINANCE OFFICER

Lindsay joined the team in March 2020 and comes from a background working in the charity sector.  She supports the charity’s financial management and operation needs and is the first point of contact for schools and supporters around anything financial.  Lindsay is experienced in relationships with stakeholders and supporting around events. 

Lindsay brings with her a commitment to working towards the charity’s vision supporting schools in the region.

Evandro Rosario

Business and Admin Apprentice

As Business Administrator Apprentice at Schools North East, Evandro is learning through the experienced team working with schools across the region to ensure that their voices are heard in the national debate. He mainly works with ConnectED, the region’s online community, ensuring good socialisation and interaction between Schools North East and the people they serve.
Evandro also reacts to information from teachers, governors, headteachers and SBMs around the region’s schools to make our job of keeping North East Schools united, targeted and relevant.


Evandro joined the team at Schools North East in March 2020 and prior to this he was a student at Newcastle College.

Michael Veitch

ADMIN AND COMMS ASSISTANT

Michael is on a student placement with Schools North East through his course at Northumbria University. He is a member of the Schools North East admin team and his role entails supporting in various areas of the charity, with a particular focus on supporting the blog and weekly newsletter. Over the next year his aim is to provide the best support not only to the team but to all the school professionals in our network.He is particularly excited to be supporting the National Network of Special Schools for School Business Professionals for the fantastic work they do.

He will be joining the 2021/22 Teach First cohort of secondary maths teachers in the North-East in September.